Chris Mortensen and Adam Schefter report that the NFL and its players are targeting July 21 as the date to have a new labor agreement ratified. The most recent revelations from the ongoing negotiations have provided some surprising developments. If the labor deal is done on July 21, then we are in for a whirlwind of events in the abbreviated NFL offseason.
There is still some disagreement between the two sides, and one person from the players' side feels the owners have not matched the concessions the players have made to end the lockout. Not really surprising, being that the owners have the upper hand, as I detailed in this article.
Here are the biggest things to take away from this news:
1. The Proposed League Schedule of Events (Major Points Bolded):
July 21 – NFL teams are educated about the new league rules. Voluntary training by teams is permissible.
July 25 – NFL teams can begin signing undrafted rookies.
July 28 – NFL year begins, allowing teams to start signing free agents.
Aug. 2 – Rosters set at 90 players.
Aug. 3 – Deadline for restricted free agents to sign offer sheets.
Aug. 7-11 – Time period for teams to match offer sheets to restricted free agents.
Aug. 12 – Potential deadline for rookies to sign contracts. (Not agreed on)
Aug. 16 – Deadline for restricted free agents, franchise players, and transition players to sign.
Aug. 29 – Deadline for players to report to earn season toward free agency.
2. Rookie Wage Scale:
The rookie wage scale that has been hotly debated is still a source of disagreement between the two sides. Some progress has been made, but there are some pretty significant sticking points it seems. I will defer to Mortensen and Schefter for the breakdown, as they did a great job in the article on ESPN.
Basically, we are getting closer and closer to football. The fact that there is a tentative schedule in place shows some major optimism that a deal will get done. I would expect the sides to reach an agreement this week, allowing time to put things in place to follow this schedule. It is finally time to feel comfortable that there will be an NFL season. From the looks of things right now, there won't be any missed regular season games either, which is huge.
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